Should abuse scandals make Church ‘wait and see’ on sainthood causes?


December 19, 2020

By John Lavenburg

According to one University of Notre Dame professor, the revelations of the Holy See’s report on laicized ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the totality of the clergy sex abuse crisis are grounds enough to increase the number of years after a person dies before a sainthood cause can be opened.

In a conversation with Crux, Kathleen Cummings, who also serves as director of the university’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, said history needs a longer opportunity to play itself out before the process should start.

“What the actual truth of the matter is, we don’t fully know yet. I think any man who served as a bishop at any point since, say the 1960’s, just the possibility something is going to come to light is going to be enough to say, ‘this isn’t a good idea,’” Cummings said. “The legacy of clergy sex abuse is going to be long and I think it’s going to have an effect on canonization as it does everything else.”

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